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Saltford Station Campaign News
B&NES Council Cabinet to discuss our station on 12th November
B&NES Council will be considering the latest report due out soon from the consultants CM2Hill exploring the feasibility of the station. B&NES Council Cabinet will consider at their meeting from 5.30pm on 12th November at the Guildhall in Bath whether to move the project on to the next stage of the process which will include more detailed work on costs, technical issues, and design for re-introducing this important piece of transport infrastructure.
Liberal Democrat candidate for NE Somerset backs Saltford Station
Wera Hobhouse, the newly selected Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the North East Somerset Constituency, has given her full backing to the campaign to re-open Saltford railway station as part of MetroWest. She said: "Improving public transport and making sure that people have easy access to it, is a key ambition for Liberal Democrats in Saltford. To re-open the railway station and incorporate Saltford into a new improved link between Bristol and Bath is a fantastic plan. This project is gathering more and more support and it has my full backing!"
Here are some questions posed to help the village focus on the many potential benefits of getting our station back. We shall add to this list periodically (helpful suggestions gratefully received):-
...motoring and bus travel becomes much more expensive and we haven't got a local option to travel by train?
...free bus passes are withdrawn and we've missed the chance to get our station back?
...congestion on the A4 increases but we had missed this opportunity to get our station back for local commuters?
...the chance to create a safer crossing point on the Bath Hill was missed?
...you could leave the car at home and travel to your destination from Saltford by train?
...visitors had the option to arrive in Saltford by train?
...an opportunity for more parking in the station car park for local residents was not taken?
...the station site was sold for a non-transport related purpose?
...I could guarantee getting to work or other destination on time by train, instead of agonising about the traffic on the road?
Got any "What if?" suggestions? Do contact our Website Editor.
Latest campaign situation report
The Saltford station campaign team's latest situation report (briefing paper) brings together the recent positive developments towards getting our station re-opened. The report can be found on this page under Campaign Resources.
Network Rail is now a central government body in the public sector
Network Rail has been re-classified as a "central government body in the public sector". The new classification was implemented from 1 September 2014. This follows the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announcement in December 2013 that, following a review, Network Rail would be classified this way. This was an independent statistical decision taken by ONS in light of the European System of National Accounts 2010 (ESA10) manual from Eurostat which came into force across the EU from 1 September 2014.
Network Rail owns and operates Britain's rail infrastructure. Network Rail advised the station campaign last month that there is passive provision for a re-opened station at Saltford and this will not be affected by the electrification of the Great Western Mainline or by associated electricity distribution and re-signalling work at Saltford.
Strong show of support for re-opening Saltford station
A large group of Saltford residents gathered at the former station site on Saturday 23rd August to remind B&NES Council that there is overwhelming support for reopening the railway station in Saltford.
Once re-opened, the station will be able to provide a regular train service for Saltford when the forthcoming Metro West project provides a half hourly service across the Bristol-Bath sub-region.
Saltford station latest
The latest report by Halcrow consultants on Saltford station based on a "High Level Output Assessment" (HLOA) using sophisticated computer modelling should be available to members of the public soon. B&NES Council Cabinet will be considering the report's findings at its meeting on 12th November when it will almost certainly make an important decision on funding the next stage(s) of the GRIP (Guide to Railway Investment Projects) process. It is likely at that meeting to also make a decision on the continuing funding contribution by B&NES for the Metro West Rail Project as a whole.
We can advise that during August Network Rail confirmed to the station campaign that there is passive provision for a re-opened station at Saltford and this will not be affected by the electrification of the Great Western Mainline or by associated electricity distribution and re-signalling work at Saltford.
Following misleading and inaccurate comments from an opponent to the reopening of Saltford station in a local publication, we thought it might be helpful, especially for our newer members, to summarise the strength of support in the village behind the station campaign that has been shown:-
Majority in favour of station
Following a positive public meeting about a re-opened station attended by 140 residents in July 2011, in September 2011 the Parish Council voted overwhelmingly to support the station campaign whilst being mindful of the need to ensure any concerns of local residents were addressed. During November 2011 over 2,000 signed the village petition in favour of re-opening Saltford station with support in at least 65% of households. Approximately 30% of householders were unavailable to participate in the 2011 petition when the petition team called but of those residents that did speak to our petitioners, well over 90% supported the campaign.
This high level of support led in turn to B&NES Council agreeing to be the official promoter of our station in April 2012 and the B&NES Cabinet voting unanimously in June 2012 to fund the development of the business case for a re-opened Saltford station. Throughout this period and subsequently, key members of the campaign team maintained close working contact with the Metro West project that incorporates Saltford station so that Saltford residents will be able to take advantage of the forthcoming half hourly service between Bristol and Bath. To make sure residents' concerns and opinions are known, B&NES Council carried out a consultation event in February 2014 to which all households received an invitation from the council and of the 370 questionnaires returned, nearly 70% wanted a station in Saltford.
Further background and other information about our campaign to re-open Saltford station can be found on this page.
Huge benefits of re-opened Saltford railway station
Regular visitors to our website will be aware of the strong support in Saltford for the re-opening of Saltford station - see April 2014 story below "Consultation shows strong support for Saltford station". The following is a letter published in the Bristol Post (link) on 5th August (2014):-
Reader's letter: Huge benefits of re-opened Saltford railway station
B&NES Council has commissioned two reports on Saltford Station. The first was a basic report by consultants Halcrow in March 2012. The latest is a much more detailed study by Halcrow called a "Higher Level Option Assessment" (HLOA) which used the sophisticated computer modelling of the Metro West Rail project and Network Rail's timetabling software.
This report was completed in July. It should be available to members of the public soon and B&NES Council Cabinet will be considering the report's findings at its September meeting. Figures provided in advance at the public exhibition held in February suggested that a re-opened station has space for at least 144 car-park spaces and the station would generate annual income of £770,000 from fares.
The capital cost could be met in a number of ways which do NOT involve the council tax payer - for example, devolved transport funding to the local area.
If the money is not spent at Saltford, it will be spent elsewhere. The amount of money spent on the consultant's work by B&NES Council is put into perspective by the £3 to £4 million pounds of council tax paid annually by Saltford's house-owners. This work on the early stages of project development could unlock millions of pounds of investment to benefit Saltford's commuters and businesses.
The informal consultation survey carried out by B&NES Council showed 69% in favour of re-opening a Saltford Station with 21% against and 10% not having a view. The congestion on the A4 in peak times made worse by the Kelston road closure shows how Saltford should not rely on road transport alone for its transport needs. A re-opened Saltford station is part of the vision for the Metro West rail project for the Bristol-Bath region. A network needs stations. The good news is that Crossrail and other developments still allow for time-table stops at Saltford.
Duncan Hounsell, Saltford
TravelWest: Saltford station could be in phase 1 of MetroWest
The TravelWest leaflet "MetroWest - Investing in our local rail network" (June 2014) makes reference to Saltford station in Phase 1. TravelWest brings together the West of England Councils on transport matters. The leaflet states:
"Stations at Ashton Gate and Saltford
The leaflet states that Phase 1 will be funded by the local councils and the Department for Transport's devolved major scheme funding. They expect the cost of Phase 1 to be about £45 to £55 million (2019 prices). Services will start operating in May 2019. The leaflet can be downloaded from the Travelwest website via this link: MetroWest - Investing in our local rail network (pdf on external site, opens in new window).
Consultation shows strong support for Saltford station
The results of the Saltford residents' consultation survey carried out by B&NES Council on the possible re-opening of Saltford Railway Station have been released by B&NES Council. 370 questionnaires were returned. 68.9% (255) wanted a station at Saltford and 20.5% (76, i.e. less than 2% of the village population) did not, with 10.6% (39) not having a view. If a station was to be provided, 62.7% (232) said that they would walk to it and 10.8% (40) said they would cycle whilst 11.7% (43) said they would drive. Of these 43, 23 said they would look to park at a station car park and 20 said they would look to park in the street. Reasons for using the station included "Going to work" (30.8%), and "Leisure" (36.2%). Replies were mainly from residents aged 35 upwards.
The questionnaire was given out at the public exhibition held by B&NES at Saltford Hall on 25th February (2014) and was also made available online.
Rob Taylor, a Saltford resident and member of the Station Campaign, said "The majority desire a station and this survey demonstrates a potentially dramatic change from car to rail in the way that Saltford commuters get to work." Cllr Paul Crossley, leader of B&NES Council, said at the B&NES Cabinet meeting on 9.4.2014 "This administration is committed to Saltford Station should it prove feasible and is the will of the residents of Saltford."
Chris Warren, leader of the Saltford Station Campaign, said "The positive results of this BaNES survey will feed into the report by consultants*. I firmly expect that the work of the consultants will lead to a decision to take the project onto the next stage of detailed study." *B&NES expects to receive the consultant's report in early summer 2014.
The consultation findings are in line with the station campaign petition of our village during November 2011 which revealed support in at least 65% of Saltford's households for the re-opening of Saltford railway station. Approximately 30% of homes did not participate in the 2011 petition as either the house was empty (e.g. for sale) or the occupants were away when the petition team called, despite return visits. Of those residents that did speak to our petitioners, well over 90% supported the campaign.
You can download the consultation results here: Saltford station consultation Feb/Mar 2014: initial results report by B&NES (pdf - opens in new window).
Large attendance at Saltford station consultation event
Future-proofing transport with a lasting legacy for Saltford
It is estimated that over 500 Saltford residents attended the public consultation drop-in event on 25th February 2014 at Saltford Hall.
The event took place following SEG's request in autumn 2012 to B&NES Council to hold a village-wide consultation on the idea of reopening Saltford's railway station, that was closed in 1970, as part of the proposed Bristol Metro rail network. Council transport officers were present to answer questions from residents about the proposals.
Carefully designed and implemented, the station would be a positive asset for our village. Speaking before the event, Chris Warren, the station campaign leader said: "I am delighted that the consultation event is taking place. This is one more step forward towards the re-opening of the station. It would be crazy for half-hourly Metro West services to pass through Saltford without stopping".
B&NES were seeking views on how often residents might use the station, how they would get there (e.g. walk, bus, cycle, or drive) and what approach should be taken to manage vehicles wishing to park at the station.
B&NES have published the exhibition panels on their website at www.bathnes.gov.uk/services/parking-and-travel/transport-plans-and-policies/saltford-railway-station. An online version of the questionnaire for submission by Saltford's residents was available until the submission deadline of 26 March 2014.
After an analysis of the questionnaires by B&NES, a report will be produced to show the outcome of the consultation and the consultant's report. The conclusions of the report will be considered by the Cabinet in due course in order that a decision can be taken whether to fund further work on the business case for the station.
SEG's information sheet making the case for re-opening Saltford station and answering key questions/concerns can be downloaded here (word doc, opens in new window):
Saltford station campaign talks to Railfuture
On 22 February 2014 Duncan Hounsell, a spokesperson for the Saltford Station Campaign, gave a talk on the campaign and the case for re-opening the station as part of the Metro West Rail Project to the Severnside branch of Railfuture, a national independent organisation that promotes a better passenger and freight network.
Railfuture-Severnside Secretary, Nigel Bray, commented "Recent decades have seen a tremendous growth in the popularity of rail travel locally. The trends give every confidence that a station at Saltford would be a success".
Pictured at the Railfuture event below are (left to right): Nigel Bray, (Secretary, Railfuture Severnside), Cllr Dr Anthony Clarke (B&NES Council), Duncan Hounsell (Saltford Station Campaign), Cllr Neil Butters (Chair of B&NES Council) & John Hassall (Chair, Railfuture Severnside).
Saltford Station Campaigners meet Labour PPC for North East Somerset
Chris Warren, Duncan Hounsell and Phil Harding of our Saltford Station Campaign met Todd Foreman, Labour prospective parliamentary candidate for North East Somerset, on 19th August 2013 to explain the case for the re-opening of Saltford Railway Station and to show him the Bath Hill site.
Duncan Hounsell said "We were delighted that Mr Foreman came to meet us. He saw for himself local trains pass by that in the future could stop at a Saltford Station to serve the local community." Todd Foreman added "I was pleased to hear first hand from the campaign leaders about their aspirations for Saltford as part of the Metro West rail project. It was a useful and interesting briefing."
All change at B&NES
The B&NES Cabinet member for Transport is now Cllr. Caroline Roberts who has replaced Cllr. Roger Symonds in this role. The Station Campaign Group has enjoyed a good working relationship with Cllr. Symonds and is grateful for the helpfulness and positive support he has shown for our station. Chris Warren, Duncan Hounsell and Phil Harding of the Station Campaign team met with Cllr. Roberts in Saltford on 3rd June 2013.
Metro West - Station Campaign addresses B&NES Cabinet, 10th April 2013
The webcast of the 3-minute speech by Duncan Hounsell of the Saltford Station Campaign to the B&NES Cabinet on 10th April 2013 can be found from this link (spool forward to: 2:47:48): Station Campaign address to B&NES Cabinet 10.4.2013 (2:47:48).
This is a shortened version of Duncan's speech:
"The West of England Local Transport Body (LTB) (comprising B&NES Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership) was formed in March as a prerequisite to receiving devolved major transport funding from the Department for Transport. At its meeting on 13 March 2013, it prioritised schemes against criteria of affordability, minimum cost threshold, and deliverability. The top two priorities agreed were the Greater Bristol Metro phases 1 and 2. The "new stations package" (including Saltford station) has also reached the agreed project shortlist. Construction at Saltford is estimated by the LTB to take place in the period 2018/19 to 2023/24 but earlier should other funding opportunities become available and subject to a business case. The new stations will form part of the Greater Bristol Metro project or "Metro West" as it is to be called."
"The Metro West rail project which includes Saltford Station is included in Network Rail's Business Plan for Control Period 5 (2014-2019) and Network Rail Specifications (Western). This is the first time that Metro West and a station at Saltford has appeared in public rail industry documents. A station at Saltford also appears in the "refresh" or update of the West of England Partnership's Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP3)."
"It was in June last year that B&NES Cabinet agreed a budget of £100,000 to undertake a High Level Option Assessment for Saltford Station to develop the business case and take Saltford to GRIP level 2 of Network Rail's 8-stage process for railway development. There has been a short delay in commissioning this work because of uncertainties around the awarding of the GW Rail Franchise, and changes to the Core Strategy."
"We are delighted that you are set to approve, this evening, expenditure of £124,000 as B&NES's contribution to the development of Phase 1 of the Metro West which includes half-hourly rail services for Keynsham, Oldfield Park and Bath Spa. The Saltford Station Campaign asks you to keep on-track, on time, and with green lights showing. Thank you for your support for Metro West and the re-opening of Saltford Station."
Saltford station and the new West of England Local Transport Body
On 13 March 2013 the West of England Partnership formed a Local Transport Body to receive devolved funding from the Department for Transport and ensure it is devoted to local transport improvement schemes to address the present and anticipated local transport needs of the West of England. It will agree this through an evidence based prioritisation process.
Saltford station is within the shortlisted schemes to follow the priority programme of the Greater Bristol Metro phases 1 and 2 in the 2015-2019 period. There is also the possibility that projects like our station could be brought forward; the Station Campaign team are keeping a close watch on developments.
The West of England Partnership Joint Local Transport Plan was also refreshed (updated) on 13th March and it now includes a specific reference to Saltford station. This is important as an objective of the Core Strategy (that sets the economic and planning strategy for this area's development from now until 2029) is to "Deliver well connected places accessible by sustainable means of transport" and the Joint Local Transport Plan (including proposals for the Greater Bristol Metro Scheme) is a key document within the Core Strategy.
B&NES to investigate other possible locations for a re-opened Saltford station
At the full B&NES Council meeting on 4th March 2013, the Conservative Group moved an amendment headed "Changes to Core Strategy - Land at Keynsham East" as follows:
"To request that Cabinet investigate all possible locations for a re-opened Saltford Station, including those with adequate parking facilities and which could also be accessible to residents of East Keynsham."
This amendment was accepted by the LibDem Group.
The Saltford Station Campaign, while unaware that this amendment had been tabled, was already aware of the proposition. The Station Campaign has no problem with all possible locations being considered but the focus at this time is the existing Saltford station site on Bath Hill. We feel that good access on foot for the majority of Saltford's residents is an important consideration.
The Core Strategy is the economic and planning strategy for this area's development until 2029.
Earlier station campaign news stories
Earlier news stories and pictures from the start of SEG's campaign can be found in our Campaign Archive.
Please continue to display the poster in your window to help keep the campaign in everyone's mind. If you need a fresh one contact Chris Warren or Phil Harding (see contact details on home page) - or print one off from the resources section below.
Click on these links to download (each will open in new window):-
* Illustrated paper promoting and stating the environmental, social and economic case for re-opening the station.
Campaign promotional materials
You can download from here a one page poster to print off and stick in your window:- Saltford Station - Let's bring it back! poster (pdf, opens in a new window).
Our unique Saltford station campaign mugs (£5) and car/window stickers (£1) are available from Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road, Saltford, Bristol BS31 3JN (Tel: 01225 874037). You can order these via the internet at: www.signsofsaltford.co.uk/station.htm or arrange to collect from Signs of Saltford during office hours (please telephone first, cash payment preferred).
Background to the campaign and strategy
39% of the respondents to the 2009 parish questionnaire, when road fuel prices were significantly lower, said they would be likely to make regular use of a rail service from a re-opened Saltford station.
Saltford station was closed in 1970 when significantly less people lived in Saltford. Early in 2011 the government announced it was going to electrify Brunel's Great Western Mainline from London Paddington through to Cardiff, i.e. a significant infrastructure project resulting in electric trains running through Bath, Keynsham and Saltford.
Saltford Environment Group saw this as a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity for Saltford that was too good to miss. Electric trains mean faster acceleration and deceleration leading to quicker timings and gaps in the timetable for re-opened stations. Electrification and the simultaneous re-signalling of the line can provide the capacity for local trains to stop at Saltford.
Saltford Environment Group felt the time was right to start a campaign to get our station back. From our observations of public statements and our own discussions with key senior members of Bath and North East Somerset Council (the leader, Paul Crossley, and the cabinet member for transport, Roger Symonds) it was clear that they shared our view too. Railways are about the future of transport, not just the past.
With the ever increasing cost of private motoring, a re-opened station gives the residents of Saltford a vital and environmentally friendly transport asset that will help 'future proof' the village against future price rises in oil and thus road fuel. Many residents commute to Bath, Bristol, London and beyond. Saltford has quite a large student population who attend universities all over the country. Many people visit the village; a railway station will give people the option to visit without using the car.
The Saltford Station Campaign team made representations to the West of England Partnership (WEP) Joint Transport Executive Committee concerning the inclusion of Saltford station in the Greater Bristol Metro project. The Greater Bristol Metro project successful bid to the Department of Transport in June 2012 included half hourly trains between Bristol and Bath and the re-opening of Saltford station.
We see the station as a real asset primarily for the local community, not a vast 'Park & Ride' arrangement although we recognise that a reasonable amount of car parking should be provided for the station to be economically viable. The design and facilities of the station will need to respect the character and environment of our village and be sensitive to the quality of life for those residents living nearby.
Saltford's residents will be able to access the station on foot as there is a comprehensive network of footpaths that the Victorians put in place when the station was opened on 12th December 1840.
At its busiest, Saltford station employed 12 porters. It would be great to have our station back serving the village community as it did once before.
An important approach for SEG with this campaign has been to maintain a dialogue with Bath and North East Somerset Council and Network Rail as well as with local politicians (Saltford Parish Council and our local MP).
Network Rail's publication "Investment in Stations - A guide for promoters and developers (May 2011)" is a framework that provides information on the principles and processes for those wishing to re-open stations on Britain's rail network and has helped guide our campaign.
Involving the active support of residents in this campaign has been crucial. In addition to working with local media and the production of promotional materials (posters, stickers etc), we organised a village petition of all households in November 2011.
The agreement by B&NES Council to be the station "promoter", to fund and engage experts to work with Network Rail and the rail operator to build the business case (a 'High Level Option Assessment') for re-opening Saltford station, was a major milestone reached in June 2012, as was the inclusion of Saltford station in the Greater Bristol Metro project at that time.
Our website provides a focal point informing all stakeholders of progress with the campaign to re-open the station. We publish our campaign news and plans on our website and regularly in the bi-monthly editions of SCAN (Saltford Commmunity Association News) that is delivered to all households.
If you want to see earlier stories from the start of the campaign including details of the petition visit our: Campaign Archive Page
Friends of Saltford station
Concerned about the environmental impact of the station once it's built?
SEG are very keen to stress that a new station built on the old station site must be sensitive to the quality of life for people living in the immediate vicinity.
We are not proposing the replacement of the existing eye-sore - currently the old station site looks like a dumping ground and regularly attracts metal thieves who turn up in vans to remove metal items stored on site - with a station that looks out of place with our beautiful village. Our archive & photo gallery for the original station (link) shows what an important part the station has played in village life in the past and we wish to see a modern re-creation of this community asset.
In addition to our wish to be actively consulted on the design of a new station, our early thoughts are that it would be beneficial to our community well-being to set up a "Friends of Saltford Station" group that can develop pride in our new station by
Members of SEG's Campaign Group have had an informal meeting (January 2012) with the Severnside Community Rail Partnership (link to their website) which works with local communities to deliver:
Once our station is built, the Severnside Community Rail Partnership will actively support a Friends of Saltford Station Group.
More thoughts and ideas on how Friends of Saltford station can become a reality will be posted on this website as they develop. Suggestions to help our thinking on this aspect are welcome.
Image copyright information. This digital image of the 1948 Nationalisation era Saltford station sign was created by and belongs to Saltford Environment Group. It should not be copied or used without the prior-permission of SEG's Station Campaign. If you wish to use it please send details of your proposed use with your request (our contact email address is on the home page).
© Saltford Environment Group
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Contact the campaign
If you wish to contact SEG about this campaign, our contact details are on our home page.
What would a re-opened Saltford Station mean to you? Here are some typical comments from villagers who replied to our petition follow-up survey of daily users (Feb/Mar 2012):
"An extra 12 hours or more a week with my son. In addition, I currently spend in excess of £60 a week on parking. My journey is so often delayed due to road congestion that I am unreliable with my employer and my family commitments."